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Kirkland picked to defend Baxalta as Slaughters and Ropes take the lead on Shire’s $34bn hostile takeover

Shire has turned to longstanding adviser Slaughter and May in the UK while Ropes & Gray won the mandate in the US as it looks to takeover rival drug company and Kirkland & Ellis-client Baxalta in a hostile $33.9bn deal.

Slaughters‘ Martin Hattrell, who previously advised on the pharmaceutical giant’s $51bn bid for Abbvie, is working on the deal for Shire alongside a team including corporate partner Adam Eastell, tax specialist Tony Beare and competition partner Claire Jeffs.

Having turned to Davis Polk & Wardwell on the Abbvie deal, the Dublin-headquartered company opted for Ropes to work on US aspects of the deal this time around. The firm’s team was led M&A partner Christopher Comeau, whose previous work includes acting for Cubist Pharmaceuticals on several $500m+ acquisitions and its $9.5bn sale to Merck, and included securities & public companies partner Paul Kinsella and tax partners David Saltzman and Christopher Leich.

The deal is aimed at creating ‘the global leader in rare diseases’ and comes after Baxalta was spun-off from Baxter at the start of July 2015. Shire is proposing to combine the companies offering 0.1687 Shire ADRs per Baxalta share – giving the company an implied value of $33.9bn.

Meanwhile, Kirkland has been selected by the board of Baxalta, which rejected the deal earlier in July finding not in the best interests of the shareholders, to advise on the bid with a team led by corporate partners Scott Falk and Daniel Wolf, who previously acted for American General Corp on its $23bn hostile takeover by AIG in 2001. Kirkland previously advised Baxter on the spin-off of its Biosciences division which became Baxalta.

The combined firm would target having $20bn in sales by 2020 with 65% of that coming from products targeting rare diseases. The company would also look to the launch over 30 products designed to achieve over $5bn in sales.